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Article
January 8, 1927

THE NEED FOR REPORTING NEGATIVE RESULTS

Author Affiliations

Yellow Springs, Ohio.

JAMA. 1927;88(2):119. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02680280049027

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Abstract

To the Editor:  —One of the things we practitioners sometimes neglect is the reporting of failures. In The Journal, Oct. 2, 1926, Dr. Richard L. Sutton, with proper scientific reserve, reported the treatment of six consecutive cases of warts with intramuscular injections of sulpharsphenamine. As a result of this communication, I venture to guess that not less than a hundred physicians, perhaps several hundred, injected sulpharsphenamine into patients with warts. Supposing that 99 per cent get negative results, what happens? Each of them gives up the method as a failure and does not say anything more about it, and the treatment remains on record as an undisputed success. Possibly 1 per cent who meet with success will communicate with Dr. Sutton, so that by and by he will have quite an impressive series of cases, comparable with the mercurochrome successes published in a recent number of The Journal.To practice

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